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“…a smooth, untroubled expression on his face.”

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How Trump gets normalized:

“Everyone is saying, oh, is there a bromance between Vladimir Putin and all this stuff,” Fallon began, looking down at his desk. “And what is the celebrity nickname for you guys? Vlump, I thought of Vlump.”

“I don’t know him,” Trump replied, contradicting previous statements. “I know nothing about him really. I just think if we got along with Russia that’s not a bad thing.”

It was an extraordinarily low and depressing display of pandering, and it was tough to figure out. Did Fallon think being polite to a guest meant ignoring his past year of racist, sexist, Islamophobic rhetoric? Did he just not care? The jokes weren’t even good.

Anyway, it culminated with Fallon asking to play with Trump’s hair, while they’re both still “civilians.”

“The next time I see you, you could be the president of the United States,” Fallon noted, a smooth, untroubled expression on his face.

For a reference on how this can be done far better, here’s an old Letterman clip going around, in which he reflects on the fact that Trump is a racist and how it’s time to stop making lighthearted quips about his hair.

The basic dynamic of the race right now is that previously uncommitted Republican voters are shifting back to Trump, turning this into something vaguely resembling a “normal” election at the ballot box. Clinton remains favored because 1)the Democratic coalition is bigger and 2)with his threadbare campaign operation Trump is likely to under-perform his polls on Election Day. But Trump has a puncher’s chance, and the media’s acceptance of him as just another candidate who merely Does It like the Other Side is a major reason why.

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